Vehicle boosts communication
VOLUNTEER emergency services now have access to a vehicle with satellite equipment that provides communication independent of established mobile networks.
The Communication Support Vehicle (CSV) was presented at the Department of Fire and Emergency Services headquarters in Cockburn on Thursday, July 27.
DFES acting deputy commissioner Gary Gifford said it would be stationed at the DFES regional office in Belmont for use in isolated areas or where networks were congested or not available.
It also acts as a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot giving other emergency services, including WA Police, the ability to access the internet in dead zones.
“There are many people involved in responding to emergencies, both on the frontline and in support roles, and being able to share information between them during emergencies is crucial in protecting the community,” Mr Gifford said.
The vehicle has already helped crews map fire behaviour more quickly during a fire in the Upper Swan.
The City of Armadale welcomed the CSV.
“During bush fire emergencies in the rural/urban interface (particularly in the Darling Scarp communities), an issue often arises in relation to providing timely and accurate information to the community,” Armadale chief executive Ray Tame said.
“The role of mobile phone and internet connection was highlighted in the Kelmscott and Roleystone fire incident when unprecedented calls, mainly from interstate and overseas, ‘crashed’ the network as news of the fire went out across the world.”
The vehicle includes an internal office with two workstations and its own power, plus a video camera for real-time images.
The vehicle in action (above) and its interior (below).